29 January 2020
Wildlife of Madagascar
Issued On: 2020-01-29
Printing: Offset lithography
Denominations: 6 x EC$4 (Mini-sheet), EC$14 (souvenir sheet)
Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus)
Uroplatus phantasticus, the satanic leaf-tailed gecko, is a species of gecko indigenous to the island of Madagascar. First described in 1888 by George Albert Boulenger, U. phantasticus is the smallest in body of the Uroplatus geckos, though there is an ongoing debate as to whether one of its cousins, U. ebenaui, is smaller because of its shorter tail. It may also be known as the eyelash leaf-tailed gecko or the phantastic leaf-tailed gecko.
Panther Chameleon (Furcifer pardalis)
The panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) is a species of chameleon found in the eastern and northern parts of Madagascar in a tropical forest biome. Additionally, it has been introduced to Réunion and Mauritius.
Giraffe Weevil (Trachelophorus giraffa)
The giraffe weevil (Trachelophorus giraffa) is a weevil endemic to Madagascar. It derives its name from an extended neck, much like that of a giraffe. The giraffe weevil is sexually dimorphic, with the neck of the male typically being 2 to 3 times the length of that of the female. Most of the body is black with distinctive red elytra covering the flying wings. The total body length of the males is just under an inch (2.5 cm), among the longest for any attelabid species. The extended neck is an adaptation that assists in nest building and fighting. To breed, females roll and secure a leaf of the host plant, Dichaetanthera cordifolia or Dichaetanthera arborea (a small tree in the family Melastomataceae), then lay one egg within the tube, before snipping it from the plant.
Ring-Tailed Lemur (Lemur catta)
The ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) is a large strepsirrhine primate and the most recognized lemur due to its long, black and white ringed tail. It belongs to Lemuridae, one of five lemur families, and is the only member of the Lemur genus. Like all lemurs it is endemic to the island of Madagascar. Known locally in Malagasy as maky, (spelled maki in French) or hira, it inhabits gallery forests to spiny scrub in the southern regions of the island. It is omnivorous and the most terrestrial of extant lemurs. The animal is diurnal, being active exclusively in daylight hours.
The ring-tailed lemur is highly social, living in groups of up to 30 individuals. It is also female dominant, a trait common among lemurs. To keep warm and reaffirm social bonds, groups will huddle together. The ring-tailed lemur will also sunbathe, sitting upright facing its underside, with its thinner white fur towards the sun. Like other lemurs, this species relies strongly on its sense of smell and marks its territory with scent glands. The males perform a unique scent marking behavior called spur marking and will participate in stink fights by impregnating their tail with their scent and wafting it at opponents.
As one of the most vocal primates, the ring-tailed lemur uses numerous vocalizations including group cohesion and alarm calls. Experiments have shown that the ring-tailed lemur, despite the lack of a large brain (relative to simiiform primates), can organize sequences, understand basic arithmetic operations and preferentially select tools based on functional qualities.
Despite reproducing readily in captivity and being the most populous lemur in zoos worldwide, numbering more than 2,000 individuals, the ring-tailed lemur is listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List due to habitat destruction and hunting for bush meat and the exotic pet trade. As of early 2017, the population in the wild is believed to have crashed as low as 2,000 individuals due to habitat loss, poaching and hunting, making them far more critically endangered.
Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox)
The fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) is a cat-like, carnivorous mammal endemic to Madagascar. It is a member of the Eupleridae, a family of carnivorans closely related to the mongoose family Herpestidae. Its classification has been controversial because its physical traits resemble those of cats, yet other traits suggest a close relationship with viverrids. Its classification, along with that of the other Malagasy carnivores, influenced hypotheses about how many times mammalian carnivores have colonized Madagascar. With genetic studies demonstrating that the fossa and all other Malagasy carnivores are most closely related to each other forming a clade, recognized as the family Eupleridae, carnivorans are now thought to have colonized the island once, around 18 to 20 million years ago.
The fossa is the largest mammalian carnivore on Madagascar and has been compared to a small cougar. Adults have a head-body length of 70–80 cm (28–31 in) and weigh between 5.5 and 8.6 kg (12 and 19 lb), with the males larger than the females. It has semi-retractable claws (meaning it can extend but not retract its claws fully) and flexible ankles that allow it to climb up and down trees head-first, and also support jumping from tree to tree. The fossa is unique within its family for the shape of its genitalia, which share traits with those of cats and hyenas.
The species is widespread, although population densities are usually low. It is found solely in forested habitat, and actively hunts both by day and night. Over 50% of its diet consists of lemurs, the endemic primates found on the island; tenrecs, rodents, lizards, birds, and other animals are also documented as prey. Mating usually occurs in trees on horizontal limbs and can last for several hours. Litters range from one to six pups, which are born blind and toothless (altricial). Infants wean after 4.5 months and are independent after a year. Sexual maturity occurs around three to four years of age, and life expectancy in captivity is 20 years. The fossa is listed as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List. It is generally feared by the Malagasy people and is often protected by their fady (taboo). The greatest threat to the fossa is habitat destruction.
Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus)
The lowland streaked tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) is a small tenrec found in tropical lowland rain forest, in the northern and eastern parts of Madagascar. They can be found on land, splashing in shallow waters or digging underground.
The lowland streaked tenrec belongs to the family Tenrecidae in the order Afrosoricida, and more specifically to the subfamily of the spiny tenrecs Tenrecinae. The average body size for H. semispinosus is a length of 140 mm (5.5 in) however adults have been recorded to grow up to a maximum of 172 mm (6.8 in). Body weight for adults of this species can range from 125–280 g (4.4–9.9 oz). This species has a black spiny pelage with yellow or chestnut-brown stripes that run the length of the body. There is a median yellow stripe that runs down the rostrum along with one dorsal and two lateral stripes that mark the length of the body and may serve as a warning to predators. Quills are present in this species being longer and more numerous on the head and nuchal area. However, the ventral region contains few to no quills but have the ability to detach in predation defense.
Souvenir Sheet: Coquerel’s Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)
Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) is a diurnal, medium-sized lemur of the sifaka genus Propithecus. It is native to northwest Madagascar. Coquerel’s sifaka was once considered to be a subspecies of Verreaux’s sifaka, but was eventually granted full species level, and is listed as endangered due to habitat loss and hunting. In popular culture, it is known for being species of the title character in the children’s TV show Zoboomafoo.
Its dorsal pelage and tail are white, with maroon patches on the chest and portions of the limbs. The coat is generally dense. Its face is bare and black except for a distinctive patch of white fur along the bridge of the nose. Its naked ears are also black, and its eyes are yellow or orange. The bottom of the lemur’s hands and feet are black, while the thighs, arms, and chest are a chocolate brown. Like all lemurs, Coquerel’s sifaka has a toothcomb, used for grooming and sometimes scraping fruit off a pit.
Grenada currently utilizes the Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation as its stamp production agent. As a result, many of its issues have little to no relevance with topics related to the island.